1610s, "small sweet cake consisting largely of ground almonds," from French macaron (16c.), from dialectal Italian maccarone, the name of a kind of pasty food (see macaroni). The French meaning is said to have been introduced 1552 by Rabelais. The -oon ending was conventional in 15c.-17c. English to add emphasis to borrowings of French nouns ending in stressed -on.
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